In the last two weeks, @RichardJGarside director of an “independent public interest charity” called The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has penned two articles about police reform for The Guardian.
The central thrust of Mr Garside’s articles is that lowering the police budget will lead to more balance in the public sector and that slashing the police budget will stop police officers doing other people’s jobs.
Over the last few days the issue of what cuts to police budgets might mean has finally gained some traction in the media.
First we had Merseyside CC Sir Jon Murphy speaking plainly and honestly about what the re-structure of the force would look like:
“We will not deliver as good as service as we have done before. In some instances it will take us longer to get there. In some cases we won’t turn up. That’s an inevitable consequence of having less people to do more work.”
Things were different when I joined. Well, they were. This was back in 1994, I was a boy. I didn’t have the first damn clue what I was letting myself in for. I had wanted to be a policeman since I sat staring in awe at the copper stood in full Number 1 uniform lining the route of the Queen’s Jubilee tour in 1977. I was 3.
“What’s that medal for?” asked my father pointing at the Long Service and Good Conduct medal proudly displayed on his chest.
“Not getting found out.” he replied with a wink.
The publication of the CQC report on mental health care provision (Right Here Right Now) very clearly demonstrated that there simply isn’t enough of it. Not only is there not enough of it but those who end up dealing with it instead are neither properly equipped or trained to do so. The current system is nowhere even close to being able to deal with demand and the overall outcome is that people in crisis are being knocked from pillar to post when they are at their most vulnerable. When they are not at their most vulnerable, there is nothing in place to help them from reaching that point in the future.
The organisations charged with either providing this care as their primary role and those who fill in the widening gaps are struggling to cope and whilst this is a source of massive frustration across the board it is those in crisis who are suffering the most.